Charles Nailen/The Hoya Senior linebacker Matt Craffey (58) tackles Duquesne running back Josh Rue last Saturday.

Georgetown got its first win of the season in a thrilling and unlikely fashion as senior defensive lineman Scott Pogorelec blocked what would have been the game-winning extra-point and freshman Byron Anderson returned the ball 82 yards for two points to give the Hoyas a 15-13 victory in their Homecoming game against Duquesne last Saturday.

With Georgetown leading 13-7 and just 3:46 remaining, Duquesne’s Josh Rue intercepted senior quarterback Sean Peterson’s pass on the Hoyas’ 4-yard line and returned it to the endzone to tie the score. But just as it looked like their first win was slipping through their fingers, Georgetown defenders broke through the Duquesne offensive line and Pogorelec got a hand on the kick. Byron scooped up the loose ball and ran it back to give the Hoyas a two-point lead.

“I knew I had to do something with it,” Byron said.

On the ensuing kick-off the Dukes failed in their attempted on-sides kick, but got the ball back shortly as Peterson fumbled at midfield. With Duquesne only needing a field goal to win, the Georgetown defense once again held for four downs, allowing Georgetown to run out the clock against their former Metro-Atlantic Athletic Conference rivals.

In almost fairy tale fashion, Anderson told of how the linemen guaranteed they would block the kick.

“The linemen promised me that they would block it and told me that I had to run it back,” Anderson said. “I had to fulfill my part of the promise.”

Byron savored his miraculous return after the game as redemption for an earlier miscue when a Duquesne receiver got behind him and scored on an 86-yard pass play to give the Dukes a 7-0 lead in the first quarter.

“I had to keep my head,” Anderson said regarding his early lapse. “I couldn’t go in the tank.”

Byron was named Patriot League Rookie of the Week for his run-back. Byron is the second Georgetown player this year to receive that honor. Freshman Craig Agnello was named Rookie of the Week after the Hoyas season opener against Holy Cross.

The Hoya defense as a whole redeemed itself as well after giving up 48 points last week against Fordham. Georgetown (1-3) routinely disrupted the Duquesne (3-2) offense, forcing seven turnovers. The Hoyas got pressure on Duquesne red-shirt freshman quarterback Niel Loebig, sacking him five times and forcing five interceptions. Loebig only completed six passes on 22 attempts.

Sophomore Matt Fronczke led the Georgetown defensive effort with two interceptions and a sack.

In addition to causing turnovers, the Georgetown defense twice stopped Duquesne on goal-line stands.

Duquesne Head Coach Greg Gattuso was upset with his team’s execution of the basics.

“You can’t be any more fundamentally wrong than that,” he said. “I’m not sure if the better team won today. But Georgetown played smart, you’ve got to give them that.” The Dukes have had a combined 13 turnovers in their past two games.

This was the first time Duquesne has lost back-to-back games in two years. They have won the MAAC title for the past two years.

Georgetown clamped down on the Dukes, often bending but never breaking against a relentless rushing attack led by senior Dante Small (32 carries for 173 yards). Small quickly made up for lost time after sitting out the first quarter recording 88 yards in the second quarter. Duquesne Head Coach Greg Gattuso said Small did not play in the first quarter due to “a minor disciplinary infraction.”

“We have a young team and it is important to maintain discipline,” Gattuso said of his decision to bench his team’s leading rusher for the first quarter. Small remains 91 yards shy of the Duquesne school record for career rushing yards.

After scoring 13 points in the first half on a touchdown on a screen pass from Peterson to senior fullback Aaron Brown and two field goals by graduate student Mark Samuel, the Georgetown offense proved largely ineffective late in the game. Duquesne contained freshman running back John Sims to only six yards in the second after he sprinted for 51 yards in the first half.

Georgetown Head Coach Bob Benson said after the game that he gave a lot of credit to his defense and special teams, particularly citing the performance of junior punter Dave Paulus. Paulus continually pinned the Dukes deep in their half of the field with his best kicks of the season, averaging 40.4 for the game, a 9.2 yard increase from his season average of 31.2 yards-per-punt.

After the game, Benson called the victory “as big a win as we’ve had in nine years.”

“All criticisms are heightened when you don’t win,” Benson said. “That’s why this win was so important.”

His players agreed.

“We had to get on track,” Sims said. “We had three really bad games. It was our time to win.”

Georgetown faces Davidson Saturday at Kehoe Field. Georgetown has lost both previous meetings with Davidson, including a loss two years ago on Georgetown’s Homecoming in which the Hoyas blew a 27-7 lead in the fourth quarter.

That victory ignited an 18 game winning streak for Davidson, who went undefeated last season. The Wildcats stand at 2-2 coming into this weekend’s game.

Davidson features a diversified offensive attack, rushing for 400 yards and throwing for 590 yards so far this season.

“The sign of a good football team is to be able to win back-to-back games,” Benson said. “The sign of a good football team is to improve from September to November. We’re improving. We’re still looking for consistency. There were glimpses of it, especially in the first half, against Duquesne.”

Team Schedules/Rosters 2001 Football Schedule | Roster

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